From vaccines to power plants: A look at DFC’s $3 billion+ investment portfolio in India
During one of the peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, when a new variant swept through South Asia, DFC moved quickly to build local vaccine manufacturing capacity to help ensure more people could receive life-saving shots. DFC’s financing enabled Indian manufacturers to swiftly expand production to support at least one billion additional vaccine doses for distribution to India and other developing countries.
The Biological E partnership is just one of more than 90 active transactions DFC is supporting that are expanding access to healthcare, electricity, food, and financial services for many of India’s 1.3 billion people.
This week, when DFC CEO Scott Nathan led a delegation to Mumbai and New Delhi, he visited many of the DFC-supported projects, and he signaled DFC’s ongoing interest in partnering with local businesses to support projects that will impact lives and strengthen the economy.
“We’re looking for opportunities where there are companies facing financing gaps that are looking for financing to grow to the next level, to support economic growth here in India and to increase the overall level of economic opportunity. We’ve met with some terrific people and I’m hoping that the fruits of these meetings will bear in future deals that we can sign just as we did during this trip,” said CEO Nathan in an interview with CNBC India.
The four-day trip included visits to two DFC-supported healthcare projects that are providing affordable care and sanitation products that are helping people attend school, work, and lead productive lives. DFC financing is helping Eye-Q Vision grow its network of hospitals that correct vision and treat more serious conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma across India, which has the world’s largest population of blind people. DFC also toured the manufacturing plant of Soothe Healthcare, which produces hygiene products for women and girls.
DFC’s investment portfolio in India also includes a strong focus on financial services. By partnering with local banks and microfinance institutions, DFC can support lending to small businesses and groups such as women and rural populations that are particularly challenged to access financing. The delegation visited two financial services partners, including CreditAccess Grameen Limited, which is using DFC financing to provide an estimated 500,000 loans to low-income women; and IndusIndBank Limited, which will also focus on lending to low-income and rural women.
The India visit comes as DFC approaches its three-year anniversary as a modernized and expanded development agency focused on mobilizing investment in developing countries to address some of the most urgent challenges, including energy security and climate change. India, which recently announced it expects annual energy demand to grow at an average of 7.2 percent for the next five years, is also committed to generating more of its power from renewable sources. DFC’s support to Punjab Renewable Energy Systems is advancing development of a series of biomass plants that are expected to increase the production of biomass fuel from 250,000 metric tons to 1,950,000 metric tons within five years and generate income for smallholder farmers.